San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents seized more than 38 pounds of fentanyl during a vehicle stop on Interstate 5 Thursday afternoon.
On the afternoon of January 18, agents assigned to the San Clemente Border Patrol Station conducted a vehicle stop on a grey sedan heading northbound on Interstate 5 near the Vista Hermosa Highway exit. A Border Patrol canine team conducted an air sniff of the vehicle and the canine alerted to the probable presence of narcotics near the trunk. Agents searched the trunk and noticed the spare tire to be heavier than normal. Agents transported the vehicle and driver to the San Clemente Border Patrol Station for further inspection. At the station, 15 cellophane wrapped packages containing blue pills were discovered inside the spare tire.
Subsequent tests of the pills indicated the presence of fentanyl. The pills weighed more than 38 pounds with an estimated street value of $1,720,000.00. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s publication, Facts About Fentanyl, one kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to kill half a million people.
The driver and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for federal prosecution. The vehicle was seized by U.S. Border Patrol.
“Even in small amounts, this deadly drug can cause havoc on the people who fall victim,” said Chief Patrol Agent Patricia D. McGurk-Daniel. “The U.S. Border Patrol is committed to stopping these criminals and will continue to leverage all available resources to target and dismantle their organizations.”
This seizure is part of the recently announced Operation Apollo. Operation Apollo is a joint regional operation comprised of federal, state, and local agencies working to combat the threat from fentanyl and other illicit narcotics.